Life without me was now hard for Marcus a constant urge of hate ran through his lonely heart, a feeling of resentment to those who betrayed us. Forcing us apart and me out on to the streets of Paris to live a life of prostitution fuelled with drugs and alcohol. His mother paid no attention to his misery. On the rare occasions, he appeared in the theatre, the women kept their distances covering themselves every time he walked close to them, and every time the men saw him they tripped or pushed down the stairs and laughed as he recovered himself from the falls. He resented everyone, but more particularly his mother, Claudia caused him more pain than anyone else. She hurt him every moment she had, not a day went past when she would not find an excuse to bruise him or make his old scars bleed or inflict new scars. But ever since she found out about he son's secret affair she loathed him more than ever, loathed him so much she disowned him, but then again with the amount of bruises on his face, you could not recognize him as her son or anyone's son. All his once predominantly beautiful features were now just black marks merged into one, with added pastel shades of indigo and ochre. He shut himself away drowning his pain thinking of what's installed for him in the future, he saw nothing but poverty and loneliness, praying for the chance that we will be reunited, with him holding me tightly to his chest, so tight that I can't breath. Absinthe gave him the freedom to see into an abstract future involving freedom and a life without pain and suffering. He begrudged Jacqueline, she was the one who informed on us being together, we will never forget that night, the orders of rape and bloodshed ran deeply in his heart which was now isolated from love and affection. Caring for people was now an element never to be revealed to anyone else but me. He walked around the theatre ignoring the comments and insults thrown at him, just walking doing what was needed preying that someone will release him from this imprisonment. Monsieur Artoir led him like a lamb to the slaughter, making life even harder, it was a conspiracy between him and Marcus' mother to dictate him; any opinions he had were forbidden from conversation and his presence in society was restricted to strictly rehearsal hours and even then, he had to keep out of sight.
Christmas had now arrived in Paris and had reached the hearts everyone in every district in Paris, everywhere except the Grand Guignol. Monsieur Artoir made the Christmas rehearsals longer; Christmas Eve was the most popular event of the year and brought great profits to the theatre. So much so that everyone was given higher wages to spend to celebrate Christmas, everyone except Marcus, who had to make do with what he had and learn to live with it. He hated everyone because it. Marcus had never hated so many people in his young life, it added to his ever-growing despair and loneliness. So much, so that he was now invisible, part of the background, his mother once said that he was a backstairs sprog, which nobody really wanted around now he realized how true this was.
For years, Marcus had lived in anger, storing it away at the back of his heart. Never lashing out at anyone in anger or spite. But the hatred within him had drawn out another side of him one that could kill if the feeling was strong enough hate filled him with rage. He was no longer that sweet innocent child I once loved for all those months. However all that rage, which had been building up for years, was about to be released all at once; at anybody who crossed this path of wrath.
Towards the end of the Christmas celebrations everyone was looking forward to a fresh start, except Marcus who with the money he stole from his mother's purse took once again to the back streets of Paris to purchase his opium. He was now one of the regulars; regular to the debts involved with such an addiction continually saying how he will have the money but when he did the interest on the price went up meaning he would get the drugs on loan. After acquiring the medication, he would return to his crypt, and impale the syringe into his forearm and allow the drugs to swim in his veins. Every morning he would look at himself in the mirror to admire at his red glazed eyes and black pricks on his arm. He had always hated his life but he never hated himself, but now he did an inner self-hate and the urge to end it all at once. Anger and self-hate is a deadly mixture which after it is released it can do more harm then good on those around you. A week before new years eve, he was cleaning the stage when Monsieur Artoir walked in with all intentions of making his job harder, "Rewash this stage. It's still filthy." bearing in mind that Monsieur Artoir had just strolled in off the dirty streets with snow still lying on the ground and onto the stage, Marcus was cleaning. He cleaned the stage once again at Monsieur Artoir's command; however worst was still to come for him. That evening Jacqueline had been out drinking and arrived back at the theatre intoxicated with alarming substances. Unfortunately the influence of alcohol caused her to forget her way around the theatre and stumbled down the stairs to the cellar, where Marcus laid; "What do you want?" he asked in a malicious tone. Jacqueline couldn't answer, absinthe had distorted her speech in every way, and not even a clear syllable could escape her lips, only laughs and giggles. So instead of talking she just stumbled into everything, including the small table, which had, Marcus' opium and syringe settled upon it, with no cap on the needle. The syringe which Marcus had used just five minutes before hand; blood still dripped from the tip as he jabbed it to far into his arm, was now in the fleshy area of Jacqueline's knee. However, Jacqueline to was too drunk to realize, and it acted like an anesthetic to the pain of the needle. Marcus worried, but not because the syringe was in her knee but because she may discover his secret. He leaned forward and slowly outstretched his fingers towards the fixed needle. He pinched the end of the plunger, but it refused to move. So he placed his hand around the back of her knee, when she screamed. He pulled out the needle and wiped it on his shirt. Jacqueline didn't realize the needle that was jabbed in her knee; all she felt was Marcus' hand around the back of her calf muscle. She screamed out "RAPE" in her drunken state, Marcus was still holding the needle when she cried out "You tried to drug me! So I could be a replacement for Mary." her ramblings continued and Marcus rushed towards her, grabbing her shoulders to control her, but she struck back like a cobra on her prey, slapping him, scratching him and jabbing her razor-sharp nails into his throat. But although Marcus looked weak and lifeless, when power possessed him he could release all his strength and dominate anyone; he bent back her wrists then swirled her around and embraced his arms around her body. However she continued to struggle and call out "RAPE" the sound of her screeches drove him insane "SHUT-UP, SHUT-UP." as his grip tightened her struggles grew. Until could bare it no longer, he placed his hand over her mouth blocking all airways and continually pulling her head backwards and forwards, side to side, until her head fell sideways and she felt loose in his arms.
On realizing that, she was mot moving he relaxed his grip and carried her to the bed. She was not breathing and her heart was not beating and her neck was broken. She had died and Marcus had killed her. He had taken a pure human life and only because he could not control his anger. He began to panic and shrank into a tiny corner, covering his ears pretending that nothing had happened, but her lifeless body was still in his line of sight haunting him. After two hours, Marcus wrapped her body up in a sheet tied with rope, placed it in a bag with a few weights. With the sack straddled to his back, he took the long slow walk to the river to dump her body. Over the bridge, the street lamps illuminated the deed, but no one witnessed it. The splash of the body crashing on the water surface relieved Marcus for a moment and watching the body sink to the bottom of the river cleared his mind and kept his conscience clear until he returned to his cellar and looked at the bed where she laid and his guilt returned. Once again, he began to hate himself and relieved his pain through continually hurting himself. He saw her everywhere after this, in the cellar where he lived, leaning against the walls on the staircase where she was pushed, and acting among the actors on the stage as he worked from the beams. No one else saw her; Jacqueline was in his mind appearing in all places, controlling him. He was the puppet and she the puppeteer.
The anger and self-hate began to destroy him, in his mind; the world was his enemy, bounded in a conspiracy to end his life. Iodine, drugs and alcohol did nothing for him anymore and no one was there to help. Razors now had a new purpose; if they could slice his face whilst shaving, they would be able to slice any part of his body when properly used. It began by him cutting small lines on the top of his arms, deep enough to bleed but not so deep that they required stitching, every day he would add one more line to his arm spreading evenly along his arm from elbow to wrist. But these tiny cuts could not relieve his depression, so he went further with his pain by scratching his wrists until his veins began to swell and pulsate. With the veins now swollen it was pure temptation to slice the tender skin in a call for help and allow the blood topour out. He cried no tears not even a squeal of pain instead he just laid on his bed, arms open and blood oozing from the slashed veins.
The next morning tired and light-headed one wound had scabbed over, the other was now swarming in maggots eating the dead flesh. Being afraid of parasites, he swept them away breathing heavily and sweating a cold sweat through fear. Melancholy and thoughts entered Marcus' mind. He looked at his damaged wrists in disbelief; the scars dark and crusted were now symbols of depression and remorse. The pain filled his empty heart and replaced his loving emotions with something more disturbing. The constant looking at the septic scars on his wrists had taken a new lead; the pus had built up everyday from where he had refused to clean the wounds. The murder of Jacqueline controlled his mind, and every time he looked around the damp cellar, he saw his loneliness. He read the pile of letters from his lost love; the ink ran down the crumpled paper from his tears. His hopes hung on every word, which was written, and his heart on every kiss at the bottom of the page. When he had finished reading all of them, he tied them back up in the little red ribbon that I wrapped them in. When he looked at the ribbon, he untied the letters when one of them dropped and my ring fell out of one of the envelopes as it glistened in the firelight he placed it on his engagement finger and tied the ribbon around his arm. Word had to him that his daughter was born, in his heart he had to see her; he escaped the theatre at midnight being careful no one could see him and ran to my window. My daughter and I were peacefully sleeping when I heard something banging against my window. I opened it to see Marcus at the bottom "Marcus?" "Mary. What's her name?" "Josephine." Marcus began to repeat the name to himself, "Come up and hold her." "I can't the doors locked" as I tried to think of a solution he had already thought of one he climbed the gutter pipe that ran up along side my window and climbed in "I can't stay long." she was still asleep as brought her out of her cot. Marcus was so proud as he held her close to him, there is something very special between fathers and daughters, and "She has your eyes." I said as we held her together. "This maybe the only time I will be able to hold her." "Don't say that Marcus. We have years ahead of us and Monsieur Artoir and Claudia won't be around forever." he didn't want to let her go, but he had to leave. As crawled back down the drainpipe, he knew that that would be the first and last time he would ever hold his daughter.
Life had no meaning anymore and he wanted to be released from its grip of pain. No one could give him a new lease of life, maybe the only person who could was forbidden from seeing him ever again. No one will notice his absence, no one notices him now isolated from life. He had decided that night he would numb himself with drugs and alcohol then end it all.
He raided every empty dressing room and full purse stealing every franc he could find. Then walked out with the cutthroat razor in his back pocket ready to use it at the end of the night. As the night enraged fuelled with absinthe and crazed hallucinations. Woman surrounded him with sexual interest but he just pushed them away to return to another shot of absinthe. The bars and brothels closed at midnight during the week and they cast Marcus out onto the streets, of Montmartre. He began to stagger back to the theatre giving away loose change to the homeless surviving in the gutters. Then scurrying of to spend the change on alcohol to numb their loveless souls, Marcus looked at these sorry creatures of the streets and for a brief moment he was grateful for what he had in life, some food and drink, a roof over his head to protect him from the elements, a room of his own to live independently. Then he looked at the closer details; the yellowing fingers and tarnished wedding rings. He walked back along the Seine staring into the dirty water, a vision of Jacqueline's body appeared in Marcus' mind, the vision of her bloated face and water filled lungs made him feel even more guilty so he took a long slow walk back to the theatre thinking about everything that had happened over the past months. He remembered the joyous moments as well as the heartbreaking moments, my smile, the affair and birthday presents, but leading straight after those moments was yet more beatings and abuse, no wonder he wants to end it all by ending his own life; however, he had already taken one life; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a nail. Then he reached the theatre entrance.
The theatre looks different at midnight and through Marcus' drunk eyes the gargoyles resembled the face of Monsieur Artoir snarling over him. He opened the heavy door and staggered into the stalls of the theatre. His body was now so numb that he didn't even feel the pain of his head splitting when he fell up the stairs to the stage. The cutthroat razor fell out of his back pocket and it beckoned his body towards it. He sharpened the razor before he went out and he ran his thumb down the blade, he didn't squirm when it sliced the tender skin, but he felt the pain however, through a life of abuse, he was accustomed to pain. He ripped his shirt then swiped the razor diagonally down his torso, then drew the blade down his forearm. He screamed when he carved the word ‘SORRY' onto the top of right arm, in yet the theatre remained undisturbed. However just letting blood pour would not be enough to kill him, so he staggered around the stage looking for a final solution. Above his head, he saw the dangling ropes above the beams where the scenes were dropped. The ropes were so tempting and he couldn't resist their calling. Marcus climbed the beams dripping blood on the way, dying the stage a burgundy red, the blood called out the theatre rats who took their seats front row, centre of the stalls looking up in admiration at the depressed stage boy about to commit the most daring performance the theatre has even undertaken. Balancing on the beams Marcus relaxed on the wooden rafter sitting astride looking up at the moon light beaming down from the skylight; it was one of the first places where he first talked to me, a lot of happy memories lived within the grains of the wood. For about an hour he stared at the stars leaving his audience feeling restless, the stars lit up the skies like angels lighting a thousand tiny candles in hope and love.
Another obstacle he had to overcome was getting the ropes free as they were wrapped like anacondas around the wood twisting and binding in all directions. The ropes are strong and tightly bounded which normally takes the combination of power of two people to move them, but it was only Marcus who was around, and he was already weak with the amount of blood he has lost. He crawled along the beam to loosen the ropes, but when strength failed him, fate took over as his slipped and hung onto the beams for dear life; he pulled himself up shaking the ropes loose.
He fell back in exhaustion then pulled out of his pocket my recent letter for him, then reached for a pencil and scribbled a note on the back of the letter addressed to me, expressing his deepest remorse, his love for me and finally the confession of the murder of Jacqueline.
Eventually he tied a noose in the ropes attaching it to the upper beam but once again pausing reviewing the situation, as ending his life a way out. He thought of the only woman who loved him for what he was, but then he remembered the life of abuse he survived for all those years. His mind was made up the only way out of the theatre was through death. Eventually he stood up balancing on the beam, slicing a fresh wound down his biceps, then crumpled his note up in his hand and loosely hung the noose around his wrists behind his back. His death would slow and painful, no one really understood why he chose to die in pain to end a life of pain.
His rat audience was patient and sat up straight gaping at the actor before them; Marcus took one last look at the theatre, and remembered everything that took place. The door to the stalls was where he first saw me; the auditorium was where he was beaten from where he fell from the beams. The pain of life caused the tears to flow then after taking one last deep breath he took the fatal step from the beam and hung in pain.
Once he stepped he had the pleasure of hearing his shoulders dislocate, the crushing of the shoulder blades would cause anyone to scream in pain and Marcus was not to be excused from this. He struggled in pain but every turn of his body just made his shoulders part even more and open wounds bleed even more. Against the backdrop scenery was his dying silhouette gasping for every last breath wasting it in screams.
Eventually his struggles began to relax and his breathing began to fade away into the atmosphere. He was dead and left hanging and swinging, hanging and swinging. His eyes in his sockets were red and deceased.
© Copyright 2017 Emie Ruth. All rights reserved.
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